Understanding the Basics of Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure that orthopaedic surgeons use to diagnose and treat problems that affect a joint. Sometimes referred to as a “keyhole surgery,” arthroscopy involves inserting a very thin, metal tube called an arthroscope into the area. The arthroscope features a tiny camera and a light source that allows an orthopaedic surgeon to visualize the damage, figure out the cause of the problem, and perhaps even treat the problem during the same surgery.

Reasons for Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is most often performed on the knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. An orthopaedic surgeon may recommend this procedure for patients who experience persistent joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, especially if a diagnosis cannot be confirmed through medical images. Arthritis, frozen shoulder, and carpal tunnel syndrome are some examples of conditions for which arthroscopy can be helpful.

Steps of Arthroscopic Surgery

First, the surgery team will administer anesthesia to the patient. Then, a very small incision is made and the arthroscope is inserted. Additional small incisions may be made if the surgeon needs to insert other instruments or to visualize other parts of the joint. Using these specialized medical instruments, the orthopaedic surgeon can diagnose the underlying problem and perhaps treat it. During arthroscopy, the surgeon may drain excess fluid, repair damaged cartilage, and remove small bone or cartilage fragments.

Recovering from Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery requires a minimal recovery period compared to the recovery required for traditional open surgeries. Some patients may even resume their normal activities within a few days, although it may take several weeks for the area to fully heal. After recovering, patients can look forward to improved quality of life without persistent symptoms.

Here at MK Orthopaedics, our orthopaedic surgeons in Joliet routinely perform highly sophisticated arthroscopic procedures using state-of-the-art medical equipment. We treat a wide range of conditions, including ACL tears, meniscus tears, and shoulder pain—just to name a few. If you’ve been referred to an orthopaedic doctor for specialized care, you can schedule an appointment by calling (815) 741-6900.

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